COVID AND FLU VACCINES 2021-2022
VPAC is proud to be vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds against Covid at this time. However, the number of families remaining who want to vaccinate their 12+ year-olds is very few at this point, and we cannot continue to vaccinate those patients without wasting many doses (vials are multidose and must be used within a few hours). Given current community needs for booster doses for ages 18+ and limited numbers available through the Fairfax County Health Department (our Covid vaccine source), we do not feel that it would be ethical to waste doses.
We apologize for the inconvenience that this may cause. We take pride in vaccinating children, but feel that we must answer to the needs society as a whole. To all of our families of children who received their first dose through us, and whose children are now 12+ we sincerely apologize. We ask that you schedule your child's 2nd dose (the 12+ dose) through a local pharmacy or the health department. They have a larger number of adults requiring boosters every day and will not be in a position of wasting doses the way our practice would. If you have any questions, please call our advice nurse for further guidance.
We are still vaccinating ages 5-11 for Covid shots, and we are still giving flu shots to those who need them. Please sign up for those vaccine spots through the Signup Genius links below.
Sign-ups for either flu shots or COVID vaccines are posted. You may sign up for both, but we still recommend at least 2 weeks between the Covid vaccines and flu shots. Our practice is asking that you please make sure COVID vaccines are at least 2 weeks before or after all other vaccines. Please put in the comment section your child's name and which vaccine you are signing up for, along with age (in years) if you are signing up the patient for a Covid vaccine. Covid vaccines require a detailed administration and record-keeping protocol; we are not able to offer Covid vaccines during other scheduled appointments, but if you have a well visit coming up and it coincides with availability at one of our shot clinics, you can sign up for a shot clinic appointment on the same day, before or after your well visit appointment.
In order to receive vaccines you must be an established VPAC patient. We are not able to accommodate new patients during these shot clinics.
For COVID shots, please print out and complete and make sure to bring the COVID VACCINE CONSENT FORM filled out and also bring the Covid vaccine card if this is your child's second dose.
You may sign up two people per slot. Parents are also welcome to get the flu shot (self-pay, as we normally offer) but also please print out and complete and bring a consent form for this.
For COVID vaccines, please be prepared to remain in or around the office for at least 15 minutes after your child's vaccine. For those who have known allergies the length of wait time is 30 minutes.
We appreciate your patience as we navigate this pandemic and attempt to keep up with the social distancing protocols.
***Flu and COVID-19 Vaccinations are offered by APPOINTMENT ONLY, no walk-ins***
Springfield office Covid/Flu shot clinic:
Fair Ridge office Covid/Flu shot clinic:
(Covid/Flu shot clinic hours are the same as our walk in shot clinic hours, but you MUST HAVE an appointment to get the Flu shot or Covid vaccine.)
The Fight the Flu Campaign has begun at Virginia Pediatric and Adolescent Center.
Flu vaccines are more important than ever in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; decreasing flu burden in the community will lead to less illness and less medical resource use. Flu vaccines start producing effective immunity 2-4 weeks after immunization, and the most effective immunity lasts about 6 months and can fade after that; circulating virus strains can also change later in the flu season. For that reason, we emphasize trying to get all children and other family members vaccinated in the fall, ideally by the end of October, per CDC and Virginia Department of Health recommendations, to provide maximum protection for late fall through winter and early spring.
We are pleased to be offering protection to our patients and to their parents and in-home caregivers. We are again offering only quadrivalent vaccine this season—it protects against 4 strains; other flu shots being offered in the community may only be trivalent (protecting against 3 strains). The 2021-22 influenza vaccine we are administering protects against Victoria (A/H1N1—swine flu), Cambodia (A/H3N2), Washington (B/Victoria lineage), and Phuket (B/Yamagata lineage). Two of those four strains (Victoria and Cambodia) selected for the vaccine are different from last year based on recent/predicted flu strain activity; immunity lasts for one flu season, so those vaccinated last year should receive vaccine again this season.
Influenza vaccination is RECOMMENDED for ALL children and adolescents 6 months and older, their household contacts, and their caregivers. It is especially encouraged for children in daycare, for adolescents living in dormitories, and for travelers. It is a MUST for patients over 6 months of age with asthma, congenital heart disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, HIV infection, chronic kidney disease, Down syndrome, for those on chronic aspirin/steroid therapy and for those immunocompromised because of chemotherapy or an immunodeficiency. Those in contact with anyone in this group should also be vaccinated, as should everyone in the household including caregivers if there are any children from newborn to age 5.
After vaccination it takes two to four weeks for protection to develop, and protection lasts for up to 1 year. As with any vaccine, protection is not 100%. If a patient does get influenza, the illness is typically a milder one in a patient who has been vaccinated.
Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (Flu shot--Fluzone)
Because this inactivated influenza vaccine contains only non-infectious viruses, it CANNOT cause influenza. Respiratory disease after vaccination represents coincidental illness unrelated to influenza vaccine. The most frequent side effect is soreness at the injection site. A small percentage of patients report fever or muscle ache occurring 6-12 hours after vaccination. These effects usually last 24-48 hours. Most report no reactions. This vaccine is contraindicated in patients with a history of a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of flu vaccine or a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine (thimerosal or other ingredients), or anyone who has a history of Guillian-Barre syndrome, or an illness (mild illness is usually ok, but discuss with a provider if you are sick). If your child has a history of severe/anaphylactic egg allergy, please discuss this with your provider before the vaccine is administered. Fluzone contains a small (25 micrograms) amount of mercury. It is used as a preservative in Fluzone, the brand of flu shot offered by our office. Upon request, and for the children under age 3, we have a preservative-free vaccine; FluMist is also thimerosal-free.
Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) (Intranasal--FluMist)
This vaccine was reformulated to be more effective than it used to be, and per the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics it is an equal alternative to the shot this season. However, due to manufacturing issues, we have received very few doses of FluMist in recent seasons even when we ordered them, and the timing of delivery has been late and unpredictable. Due to this, we have not ordered FluMist for the 2021-2022 season, and we are focusing on getting our patients and families protected with the injectable vaccine (flu shot).
Dosing for flu vaccines requires a 2nd immunization in children under age 9 who are receiving the vaccine for the 1st time. The 2nd vaccination is needed > 4 weeks after the first dose.